Do You Believe In Yourself?

“Softly, her dreams took flight on the wings of hope that believing in herself was all she needed to make her dreams come true. And they did.” – Altered Book Journal. “My Mother’s Prayers” two-page spread.

We all have dreams. Big ones. Little ones. Quiet ones. Loud, audacious ones. Dreams of living lives of wonder. Dreams of great adventure. Dreams of discovering far off lands, of creating stories of greatness in our lives.

Sometimes, our dreams come true. Sometimes, we let them go because life happens.

We fall. We face a wall we cannot climb. We trip over a rock that sends us flat on our back.

In our pain and fear of getting hurt, in our concern others will laugh at us or judge us for our failures, we lock away our dreams and continue on our journey taking the safer path, the road more travelled.

We do okay. We create a ‘good enough life’. It’s just not the life we once dreamed of. But that’s okay, we say. Dreaming is for children. We’re “all grown up now”. We have responsibilities. Success. Things. Secure inside the comfort zone of the life we’ve created, we forget about our dreams and carry on living our good enough life.

And then, one day, if we’re lucky, something happens to remind us of our dreams. Tentatively. Hopefully. We unlock the cage inside our heart where we tucked away our dreams long ago and peer inside.

That’s where the magic happens. That’s where our dreams peer back at us and ask, “Are you ready to come alive?”

It’s a big question because if we say yes, the next question we must ask ourselves as we peer into our hearts and gaze at the sleeping beauty of our dreams unlived is, “Am I willing to believe in myself?”


As with all the pages in this altered book art journal, embedded within the page is one of my mother’s prayer cards. Also included are a photo of my mother and father hidden behind the smaller bird in the cage.

I hadn’t intended to hide them. Initially, I was going to transfer their images to the page with a technique that requires you to rub off the photo backing so that only the ink from the image remains affixed to the canvas. I started the process with the prayer card only to discover, while that technique works well on a canvas, on a book page the vigorous rubbing off required to remove the backing paper can tear the page of the book.


I wanted to quit. To give up. To tear out the page and begin again.

And that’s when this page became something entirely diferent than what I started to create.

Isn’t that what happens to our dreams sometimes?

We start out all excited and open to the journey until we encounter an obstacle or something goes drastically wrong. Feeling dejected, or embarrassed or possibly hopeless, we pack away our dreams and continue on our journey. It’s a little less bright. A little less promising, but it’s okay. It’s a good life and we should be grateful for all we have.

We tell ourselves, “We didn’t really like that dream anyway,” or some such conjured up story that will hide our disappointment. We’re living well so we ignore the ache in our hearts and the yearning in our minds to fly higher.

Until one day, something happens and we remember our dreams. We remember we are brave, courageous, worthy. We remember we are dreamers.

In that sacred, rarefied air of possibility, we take a step outside the confines of our comfort zone and take a deep breath.

We stretch our arms wide.

We close our eyes.

We dare.

To dream.

To believe in ourselves.

To set our dreams free.

We all have a role to play in making a difference

Before beginning to write here, I wrote a blog everyday for five years at Recover Your Joy. Since starting to write here everyday, I’ve cut back on my writing at Recover Your Joy. Yesterday, I posted about how I miss it. I also wrote about how turning up there every day to write about – Joy – has changed my life.

And a young woman who lives in London, England wrote in to comment. Through her comment, I visited her blog, On the Way and found an incredible video called, Fears vs Dreams.

And from there, I visited the site “To Write Love on Her Arms” — a not-for-profit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. They are also the creators of the Fear vs Dreams project.

In my ten minute journey through the blogosphere, I was moved, touched, and inspired.

That’s the difference we make when we connect, heart-to-heart openly and authentically. That’s the difference we make when we say — hey!  I have fears. I have dreams and I am willing to speak up. That’s the difference we make when we are willing to be vulnerable.

What struck me in looking through the photos posted at Fear vs Dreams is how young the dreamers are.

While it caused me to wonder — what are we doing to our children?  — it also caused me to wonder something else — do they see how amazing they are? How courageous? How brave?

It takes courage to speak about our fears, and our dreams. It takes a brave spirit. And every one of those who write their greatest fear and greatest dream on the white panel board and hold it in front of them and have their picture taken to be posted on the website — is incredibly brave, courageous and inspiring. (And yes, it is not Saturday — but they are still heroes to me.)

I don’t have the answer to my question — What are we doing to our children? — because what we are doing to our children is what we are doing to ourselves, to our world, to everyone around us. There is lots of evidence of ‘what’s wrong’  — but what about ‘what’s right’?

How we do one thing is how we do all things. And how we do the ‘right things’ makes a difference.

How I choose to make a difference, makes a difference. What I do, everything, makes a difference.

And that’s the answer I found this morning. There are millions, billions of people in the world doing the right thing, doing things to make a difference, reaching out to share their hopes and dreams and fears too. There are millions, billions standing up even when life punches them down. There are millions, billions, speaking up even when their fears tell them to shut up. And there are millions, billions reaching out even when their pain would say, Hold Back!

Making a difference is in all of us. (I think it’s part of the human DNA).

We all have a role to play in making this world the world we’ve always dreamed of. We all have a role to play in sharing Love. Peace. Joy. In sharing a smile, a handshake, a hug.

We all have a role to play in making a difference.

What role will you play today? Will you stand up to your fears or give into your dreams? What will you do today to make your heart sing?